Fundraiser Numero Uno

Well, I'm feeling overwhelmed a good way!  My beautiful, talented cousin, Dawn, has offered to help us start our first fundraiser!  She is very crafty, and she has a blog and an Etsy shop where she sells cute clothing and accessories for kids.  And she has offered to donate 100% of her proceeds for the next 2 months to our adoption fund!

Her blog is called Designed by Dawn Nicole, and here is the link to her Etsy page.  Please check it out if you get a chance!

Also noteworthy: We have set up a PayPal donation link on here!  Feel free to share the blog with family and friends who might be interested in helping out!  

Our family and our future Colombian baby (or babies) thanks you!
Reality hit me this morning as I looked over the many pages and requirements contained in Application Part One.  I discovered that our next agency fee is $500.  And although the contents of Application Part One don't seem too daunting, that fee does.  It's not like I didn't know how expensive this process would be...I just don't feel prepared to shell out that kind of cash yet!  It's time to start some major fundraising.

Most of the fundraising ideas I've come across seem somewhat fun!  But when I think about asking family and friends to buy things or donate, I start to feel really guilty.  The economy is pretty crappy, and lots of people are struggling.  So, who are we to start asking for money?  But I don't know of any other way to do this!  

So, as I was wrestling with all of this earlier today, Asher was climbing on me.  Sometimes I like to ask him random questions that I don't expect him to know the answers to just because his responses are pretty entertaining.  So, here's how the conversation went down:

Me: Asher, how are we going to bring our babies home from Colombia?
Asher: We will go get them.
Me: I know, Buddy, but where are we going to get enough money?
Asher: (Looks at me like that was a dumb question...)  God will give it to us.
Me:  (slightly emotional pause)  You're such a smart boy!

Asher's right!  Why am I worried about this???  And this is the smallest of all of the fees we will pay!  But, God's got this.  And He's got the big fees that will come later, too!  

Step One

After much deliberation and a lot of prayer, we have taken the first big step in our adoption journey!  We chose an agency!  Michael faxed our preliminary paperwork (which is featured in the photo above....exciting, I know!) yesterday afternoon, and this morning while I was sitting in a staff meeting, I just felt this urge to check my email.  I knew it wasn't good manners to pick up my iPhone during a meeting, but I just couldn't resist.  And sure enough!  We got an email this morning saying they reviewed our application, and we have the go-ahead to start "Formal Application Parts One and Two."  (My hand is already cramping at the thought of the number of documents included in Formal Application Parts One and Two.)

So, the big question you might be asking is: Where???  And you probably already know the answer...(drumroll*******************)  Colombia!  It was always Colombia.  From the very first day I started researching back in April, it was Colombia.  And even during my wishy-washy period, it was still Colombia.  So, I can stop saying, "We're planning to adopt from somewhere in Latin America, I think probably Colombia."  And for me, that's just a beautiful thing.  

I honestly worried that it would take us a lot longer to get to this point--to make this first big decision.  But thankfully, our path has been fairly clear-cut so far.  So now we begin the paperwork pile!  And the heavy-duty fundraising begins!  (That home study isn't going to pay for itself.)  I can hardly believe that we're actually doing this!

Last Christmas, my goal was to move into a bigger house--live the American dream.  I wanted more stuff...just because it's what we do in this society.  But I don't even know that person anymore.  This Christmas, I just wanted to be one step closer to bringing our baby (or babies) home!  And I already got that, so I don't need more stuff!  I don't really even want stuff.  I just want to use the stuff God has given me to help those who are hopeless.  I don't want to sound trite or sappy, but I'm just feeling really, really blessed right now!

So, please keep praying for our journey--that doors will open (and close, if need be) and that things will go ridiculously smoothly and that God will be preparing all 4 of us (as well as our extended family and friends) for whomever He has chosen for us!  And pray for patience for me! This is going to be a long 2-3 years!

And this is us being creepy--lovin' on our paperwork.
(Photos taken by one of my favorite people in the universe, Hannah Podnar, who loves Latin American babies and the color purple almost as much as I do!  ;)  )


Wishy-washy: lacking in commitment or certainty; unable to take a clear position; indecisive; vacillating

I've been feeling really wishy-washy lately.  Which is weird...because I generally have no trouble making decisions--big or small.  I've mentioned in previous posts that we went into this with no preference or bias about where we will adopt from.  We believe that God has a child (or children) specifically chosen for us, and we just want to be true to His plan for our family.  And for the most part, His plan seems to consistently lead us to Latin America--to Colombia.  But this week, I've really been kind of hoping that God would change that...

I've been Facebook chatting with a mom of a boy who was adopted from Africa, and I love to read her anecdotes about her little guy!  She's been a wealth of information and insight, and she recently told me about several African countries that allow infants to be adopted.  So, as with everything I want to know more about, I Googled "African infant adoption" and found photos of some of the most beautiful children on the planet!  As I looked at these precious babies with huge brown eyes and the darkest skin I've ever seen, I thought, "God, why not Africa?"  And really, I have no answer for that--no reason for it not to be Africa.  

Last night, I got to meet a mom and her precious little Taiwanese girl!  And after hearing their family's adoption story, I thought, "God, why not Taiwan?  Or somewhere in Asia?"  And again, I have no good reason for it not to be.

But I feel like so many things have pointed us to Latin America.  First, Michael and I both feel drawn to that area, and having gone into this impartially, I feel that that's a huge factor.  Also, that ridiculously vivid dream that I had in Spanish...I just can't shake the feeling that it was more than just a random dream.  Then, there are the Colombia-specific incidents--where I almost feel like I can't get away from things about Colombia.  And prior to April of this year, I can say that I never thought about, saw or heard anything about Colombia more than twice in my entire life.  I can make a pretty good case for Colombia based on my experiences during these past 6 or 7 months...but the doubts still creep in now and then.  And then I get wishy-washy...  Am I grasping at straws here?  Do I want it to be Colombia, and I'm making all of this fit?  Now that I've blogged about all this Latin American/Colombian business, am I afraid to be totally open to somewhere else because I don't want to be wrong?  Africa would be faster...  Asia has lots of babies...  But if I feel like I have to justify a certain area of the world, that just doesn't work.  I almost feel like I would have to come up with good excuses to adopt from somewhere other than Latin America.  And why do I feel the opposite way about Colombia?  Like I would need to justify why it shouldn't be there and not why it should?  And now I'm even confusing myself!  Bottom line:  None of this is going to make sense from the world's view point.  However, I would like for it to make a little bit of sense to me!

And then in the midst of my overthinking, I remember that I didn't pick Colombia.  I kind of feel like it picked me, and I'm trying to shake it hard enough to see if it sticks...just to be sure.  And by blogging about these doubts, I'm ensuring some accountability here.  I'm saying I don't have all the answers, and I could be wrong.  I'm saying, call me out if it seems like I'm trying to make this fit!  I'm asking, if you pray for us, to pray that God would reveal His plan to us, but also to others...maybe even to confirm our next steps.  He does that!  I've experienced it!

So after hashing all of my tired thoughts and doubts out in this post, I'm actually feeling a lot less wishy-washy right now than I did an hour ago.  And I hope you didn't get a headache from reading this!  :)